In 1982, Dave Reichert, former Congressman and King County Sheriff (WA), became the lead detective in what would become the hunt for the most prolific serial killer in U.S. history. The tools of the 1980s were too limited to identify and apprehend this murderer, and nearly 20 years passed before a DNA match led to the arrest of the so-called Green River Killer. The identification and conviction of this serial murderer not only brought justice to the families of the 49 known victims, but also made Reichert a true believer in the power of forensic DNA. With genetic technology advancing rapidly and creating new possibilities for law enforcement, Reichert reflects on this old case and what these advancements might mean for the future.
“If we had had DNA technology back then,” Reichert muses, “we could have taken samples from the victims found in early 1982” and compared them to a sample taken from the Killer when he was brought in on an unrelated charge shortly beforehand, connecting him to the earliest murders. “We would have had only six victims” instead of the 49 he would go on to murder, and he would be a footnote rather than a headline in the history of American serial killings. Similarly, recent improvements in forensic DNA technology enable greater use of familial DNA to solve cold cases and help law enforcement aim their efforts more accurately from the start, reducing stressful and dangerous interactions and helping police function as a trusted and trustworthy part of their communities. The availability of modern DNA technology like the NDIS-Approved Applied Biosystems RapidHIT ID System thus protects people by helping identify serial killers early, among other achievements.
In this edition of the Leadership APB podcast, Dave Reichert discusses the Green River Killer case and how it convinced him that DNA technology will only become more important to law enforcement as it continues to improve.
Learn more about the NDIS Approved Applied Biosystems RapidHIT ID System.
Read the Case Study: Bensalem Township experiences 42% reduction in property crime.
See how it works: Request a virtual demo of the RapidHIT ID System